This is one of those open ended questions.
I was poking around on the OrthodoxChristianity board and came across a thread discussing whether or not it was appropriate for Christians to be cremated. After all, we're told that we will be bodily resurrected, so why destroy the body? Not that anyone is implying that God cannot resurrect your body from ashes, but rather, what's the point of the cremation?
There's a lot of talk on the thread about the pagan origins of cremation and some adherents gnostic reasoning for cremation, i.e.: the body is just a vessel and doesn't really matter.
When I was coming into Roman Catholicism we were taught that the Roman church allowed for cremation (which was a change from previous policy, but please don't ask me for the year that change occurred since I don't recall), provided that it was being done for (essentially) financial reasons and not because of a disregard for the physical body.
Many of the people on the thread seem to hold that the correct way to deal with the deceased is to not even embalm them, but rather that they should be buried in as natural a state as possible. I'm not clear on whether or not this is Orthodox teaching or not, since there is apparently some disagreement between Orthodox parties as to whether or not cremation, etc. is allowable under 'normal' circumstances. No one argues that extraordinary events (disease, natural disaster, etc.) don't change things so that necessity may mean that a person needs to be cremated. One poster pointed out that it is the law in Japan that people must be cremated, and so the Orthodox in Japan are cremated because it's the law. Anyway.
The best, imho, argument against cremation that I saw was that even after death the persons body remains the temple of God. The Holy Spirit has dwelt within it and changed it by it's presence. The same theory that impacts holy relics. Many of the people on the post seem to be of the opinion that the *best* and most correct and Christian way of dealing with a corpse is to bury it in as natural a state as possible. So no cremation, and if possible (I guess some states/countries may have laws about it - see Japan) no embalming.
Of course the discussion also has expanded a tad to include organ donation, which I have to admit I've always been personally against. I get that people do it out of a desire to help others, but *ugh*. It gives me the willies. I want all my bits with me, not wandering around in other peoples bodies. Which I have been informed is 'selfish', but I can't help it. I'm not even certain that I would *take* a donated organ for myself if given the choice. A part of someone else grafted into me? *shudder* But then, of course, I am thankfully not in a position where I might need one, thank God, and I hope to never be. And opinions change as need arises.
What do you think is the correct way to deal with a loved ones body? Why? Do you think it matters? And I'm not just limiting this to the Christians, of course. Anyone who has an opinion, please answer. I'm curious. :)